Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Day 7 - Wick to Inchnadampf (Meadow of the Deer)

Actual Miles Driven Today - 195

Sorry No Blog yesterday due to being in the back end of nowhere. No TV, No Vodafone and No Internet.

This was the day I was dreading most on the whole journey - why? Unknown territory, few fuel stations, miles from anywhere.

What a Silly Billy I would Prove to Be

I left the Norseman Hotel, after giving Mog its daily wash, and loading the cases, to find a Petrol Station.
Mog in the Car Park at the Norseman Hotel
At Tesco in Wick I filled my tank to the brim, I also filled my new 10ltr can bought for the purpose. 

As I struggled to fit it back into the heavy plastic bag I had to contain any seepage, another Police Van pulled in along side me. 

The first one out came straight to my rescue and helped me put the can in the bag and into the footwell of the car. 

The three of us then discussed my journey and my purpose. 

They gave me some useful info on some places to visit and before they departed said that I was about to get some of the best views of my life. 

I almost forgot to pay!!!

Running North, towards John o'Groats

So off I went into the unknown, heading for nearby John o'Groats. I think that it was Graham Wright of LE JOG fame who hinted that it was not the best place in the word.

The Information Office & Gift Shop
It is not only desolate but was deserted other than for two young men who had stayed in the Hotel last night. I introduced myself to Col Ord and Elliott Walter.

An Original Bradshaw's Railway Guide

Left Background - The Pole with the Missing Signs.

They are Railway workers and were on a Railway Tour of the UK using a copy of Bradshaw's Guide along the way. They had to get a bus from Wick to John o Groats and had only short time before they had to take the bust back. After taking photos we say our farewells.

I was still looking a Pratt at this stage
There was a discussion with the Tourist office man who turned. 

The sign post that everyone has their photo taken next to was missing. The guy who manages it puts it away when he is not there because he makes a charge for the photos. 

Typically he was missing when needed.

I needed the Boys room where there is a charge of 20p to get in. My coin jammed in the mouth. on pressing 'Return' £1 came out so another quid for H4H.

£17K to make a wreck look 'Attractive'
The hideous derelict graffiti covered Hotel sums up the place - 'tacky'. 

Apparently it cost £17k for that paint job,

Next stop was Gills Bay Ferry Terminal where Dennis & Sylvia ONeil will be taking the ferry to Orkney soon,

I headed off towards Thurso. The road was empty of traffic already as most of the roads proved to be all 195 miles to Inchnadamph. A quick stop here for a photo of the riverside.

Bridge into Thurso

Now off along the top and past the Nuclear Power Station at Dounreay as I headed for what proved to be miles and miles of Highland Moorland.

This is where I found myself in Driving Heaven. I have never had so much fun over smooth and
undulating and empty roads. 

The Photos can never relay to you the spectacular scenery. It has to be experienced to be believed.

 My decision to travel Anti Clockwise is proving daily to be the best option as I have to look across the oncoming traffic to see the coast.

More Empty Open Roads

Marie Curie 'Field of Hope' located on the moors
Still not much Habitation

My first sight of Snow Capped Mountains
Heading for the Town of BettyHill
My Day was turning out to be like That of a Child who finds themselves in a Sweetie Shop.

With no Vodafone cover these come in handy
The breathtaking beauty I was to experience made me emotional t times. That Lump in the Throat feeling that I was alone needing to share the experience.

'A Cool Car', I think is what she said.
All was not lost, my fan club was increasing but in the wrong direction.

Approaching Bettyhill
The next town on the road is Bettyhill, leading on to the Borge Forest. I passed through Bettyhill but turned off into the Borge Hotel for coffee. 

Two miles up the lane I found the hotel, but no people so back down the lane again.

Torrisdale Bay - Side window shot.

The Bonnet Shot straight after.
The first sandy bay of the day is at Torrisdale just after Bettyhill. You only get a quick view as you turn inland so this is one of my 'open side window snaps.

The road then flows through Borge onto Coldbackie on the Kyle of Tongue. Before getting there, another fan turned up. This goose was not moving for anyone and protested strongly. His mate was in the grass to the left. The slowly approaching Mog eventually caused them both to take to the sky before circling onto a fresh water loch nearby.

Just before arriving at Tongue, and observing the sandy loch on the way, I pulled into a lovely Gift Shop with Cafe.

 Here I met the owners, who were originally from Devon. Before moving here they used to own the West Loch Tarbert Hotel on the Kintyre peninsula, a hotel I will pass later on my trip. 

I took a simple lunch of coffee and freshly made and delicious Toasty which I devoured while sitting in the glorious sunshine.

There are long stretches of moreland road before turning to run the edge of Loch Eriboll.

At last I had reached Durness, where I would be turning the corner to go south again. 

All of my initial fears of remoteness and tiny roads had be blown away by the stunning vistas and beautifully laid roads. 

There are some English Road Engineers who aught to take a look and ask 'How can we do better.'

Next I tried to get to Cape Wrath the most north westerly point, only to find that the only way is to leave the car, cross the Kyle of Durness on a Rubber Dingy Ferry and take a Mini Bus. 

As I was watching the ferry go there was an enormous explosion in the distance. I now know that the area is an MOD Weapons testing Area as well.

Then another Fan Club Group turned up.

Miles and Miles of remote single track roads with not a soul to be seen.

The road turns south for a 19 mile moorland run which is almost straight. I then took an unplanned diversion north east to the coast at the Fishing Port of Kinlochbervie

I returned to my roue and began a long winding moorland run to Laxford Bridge, Scourie and on to Unapool. The the real fun of the day began.

Across the Curving Bridge.

The B869 runs for 16 miles from just south of Unapool over the hills to Lochinver. 

A road empty of traffic which twists and turns as it rolls the car from left to right, it was a sensational drive.

When I arrived at Lochinver it was an opportunity to get fuel for tomorrows long leg to Skye. The cost is the highest so far on this trip at 154.9p per litre.

Ardvreck Castle Ruins - Loch Assynt

I only had to run the last 10 miles along A837 at Loch Assynt to my hotel at Inchnadamph  (The Meadow of the Dear) at the head of the loch. 

When I arrived there mine host had a copy of the Mountain Rescue Weather Forecast which said that Snow was forecast tonight so he kindly vacated his garage for me so that Mog could be warm and dry. Ahhh. Fortunately, only heavy rain turned up.

More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Your not alone Frank! We're all behind you just not next to you!